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A world first in methane flaring

A world first in methane flaring
Thermal Coal launches groundbreaking methane flaring project Thermal Coal launches groundbreaking methane flaring project with Gemini Carbon

When it comes to coal mining, methane is unfortunately part and parcel of the job. Recognising the harm to the environment and potential dangers the gas posed to our workforce, Johan Janse van Rensburg decided to do something about it.

Motivated by an intense dislike of waste, together with a passionate concern for the environment, Johan – a ventilation and occupational hygiene engineering specialist – instigated a groundbreaking methane gas flaring project that is now improving safety and reducing our carbon footprint at New Denmark colliery in South Africa.

Traditionally vented via boreholes and upcast shafts, the colliery sought a more environmentally acceptable way of dealing with the annual 7,000 tonnes of methane it is required to release into the atmosphere to safeguard its employees and underground workings.

Along with Gemini Carbon – a UK-based emissions trading company that specialises in Clean Development Mechanism projects and sustainable energy systems – Johan and his team created a world first, developing two mobile flaring-off mechanisms that were incorporated into the mine’s methane drainage system.

As well as eliminating the risk of underground explosion or fire caused by the highly flammable gas, flaring methane renders it 18.5 times less harmful to the environment – significant when considering the gas has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

The mine, as a result of the initiative, has reduced its annual methane emissions by 15%, and with income derived from carbon credits – which will commence in 2011 – the cost of the $1.3 million project will be covered in around three years.

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